How Do You Become an Energy Auditor?

Those who become an energy auditor will join the ranks of home energy performance professionals that save money and protect the environment every day. Most energy auditors enter the field of energy efficiency from various stages of their lives and careers. The first step in becoming an energy auditor is to read and follow the advice below.

Basic Requirements

The eligibility requirements for this career depend on two facts. First, the state’s level of incentives for homeowners to get energy audits and second, the type of energy audit training or industry certification required. Additionally, certified energy performance auditors are required to have a high school diploma, be at least 18 years old and have all the necessary tools and personal protective equipment (PPE) that is required by OSHA and the state.

From a personal perspective, people should ask themselves if they are comfortable working independently as private contractors. This means handling and managing contacts, finances, paperwork, customer service and office management. It also means following up with prospective leads, resolving conflicts and developing business relationships. To learn more, contact local energy auditors and technicians and ask them questions about their daily work and long-term career satisfaction.

State Requirements

Most states and sometimes counties offer incentive programs for energy audits that improve home or building efficiency, according to the Department of Energy. The state’s energy department website will provide the official incentive programs. Some also provide helpful resources. For example, the most populous state of California maintains high standards that require candidates to be either a licensed engineer with two years of experience, or privately certified energy inspector with two years of experience.

Some states and employers accept energy auditors who only have a high school diploma with field training and certification. Ideally, candidates will have a college degree with relevant coursework. A two-year technical degree in engineering, energy auditing and building or construction management are all excellent degree choices. A good example is an associate of science in energy management degree that prepares graduates to work as technicians with limited engineering duties. These students will learn about energy physics, HVAC systems, electrical control circuits and green building sustainability.

Industry Requirements

All energy auditors must be certified through an accrediting agency. While there are many certifying bodies, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) is the nationally-recognized accreditation body for professional energy auditors. BPI’s basic level of certification for energy auditors is the building analyst certification. Passing this exam implies that the individual is competent to perform thorough home energy audits, identify problems and recommend solutions to various energy problems.

The BPI exam contains approximately 100 questions and concludes with a field test. BPI certification must be renewed every three years. BPI members are strongly encouraged to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education credits between renewals. The exam is difficult, so an associate’s or bachelor’s degree related to engineering, building science or construction technology will help students obtain the BPI credential.

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To become an energy auditor who is truly successful, students should consider additional BPI certifications that will help them obtain employment. This includes the Envelope Professional, which trains students how to improve the performances of building structures, and the Heating Professional, which teaches attendees how to optimize heating equipment and save energy.